|LETTERS FROM LONDON
|REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
15 May 2015
|The Pontificating Prince
Saving architectural heritage, concerned for what schoolchildren eat for lunch,
buying British, saving the ‘poor old’ albatross and the Patagonian Toothfish –
what could be so wrong?
Prince Charles has finally had some of his ‘black spider’ missives to ministers
(2004-2005) revealed and he hasn’t lost his place in line or damaged the
monarchy as predicted. He’ll wear the crown, but – the anti-badger culling
brigade might lobby for his head – on a post certainly – placed near a badger
The government has spent our £400,000 to stop the publishing. Ten years the
Guardian has been pressurising for their release. New laws passed will prevent
any of the other historic lobbying documents (going back to Harold Wilson) to
ever see the light of day or be seen by the public. Ah. Who doesn’t love a
democracy…or a monarchy.
The best bit was when Charles’ communications secretary, Kristina Kyriacou,
used non-verbal communication when she at first blocked Channel 4 News
reporter Michael Crick’s questioning if Charles was “worried” about the spider
letters being released, and then ripped off the furry cover on his microphone.
Did I mention KK is known as ‘The Colonel’ or that she worked for Cheryl Cole?
He’s lucky she didn’t take a swing at him with her rather substantial handbag.
Charles said Crick’s questions “were predictable”. Predictable? What about
ridiculous, obvious, pointless? What response did MC expect? “Terribly Michael.
I’m so worried I have had a text sent to Mummy.”
An Absolute Monarchy?
“Nigel Farage has become a ‘snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive’ man whose
return as leader of Ukip makes the party appear little more than a ‘personality
cult’". Clearly it’s what everybody says when Nige isn’t around. The Ukip
economic spokesman, an MEP and the party's campaign director, Patrick
O'Flynn has said it in The Times.
Nige has changed from "cheerful, ebullient, cheeky and daring to being a much
more difficult character. What's happened since Thursday night, Friday morning
has certainly laid us open to the charge that this looks like an absolutist
monarchy or a personality cult.” Ouch. So the question might be: was Nige
genial after he had spent too much time in the pub, or was Nige nasty after he
had spent too much time in the pub?
After Nige failed to win the seat of South Thanet in last week's general election,
Nige kept to his pre-election promise and stood down as leader/despot. But by
magic, Nige was back just three days later after the party "rejected his
resignation". Hmmm. Any arm twisting involved?
O'Flynn said that Ukip was "a mature political party now and must act like one.
To set the party back on track, Farage must clear out his aggressive and
inexperienced aides and adopt a much more consultative and consensual
leadership style". Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
A source also claimed the deputy chairman, Suzanne Evans, the party’s only
MP, ex-Tory Douglas Carswell, O’Flynn and much of the Ukip press office in
London appeared to be ready to wield the axe. Oh dear, a coup! Hold on to your
head, Nige. He may have wished he had resigned properly as promised, but you
just know he doesn’t and won’t. Do I hear “off with his head!”
The Real King
Tragically the thrill is gone. The king of the blues is gone. The best is gone. RIP
It’s a Nasty Business
I’m gutted, but I’m giving in, getting on with life even if I’m still stunned, still
shocked, still shouting – walking round inside swearing. Just how could all those
people vote out of utter self-interest? Oh right. They had been ‘shy’ all along. Oh
right. Self-interest is such a private matter….
What exactly did they expect to gain? A better more efficient, innovative,
progressive NHS? More brilliant BBC documentaries and dramas? More
pioneering green energy? More hanging baskets on the high street? What
exactly? Clearly none of the above. We’ll be saying “Ah, do you remember when
[fill in the blank]” very soon.
I could list all the drastic cuts the nasty Tories are gleefully planning that will
affect everyone except them naturally, but I don’t have the enthusiasm they have
and we know them already. Although there might be even a few worth
mentioning – how exciting - such as being fracked against your will. Now, now,
don’t expect your legal rights to be honoured and surely don’t expect legal aid;
so last year.
OK. Bear with me...just a bit more on their to-do agenda. John Whittingdale,
newly appointed as secretary of state for culture, is out for BBC blood. He plans
to bleed it dry. It is said that ‘he listens’ – to Murdoch…. Willingdale named
Murdoch as the media figure he most admired a decade ago and you just know
he hasn’t changed his mind.
Unrelated to the demise of the BBC as we know it, there is an intriguing
development. What exactly is Mr Whittingdale’s relationship with, Ukrainian
oligarch, facing FBI extradition, close to ousted Ukrainian (obviously pro-Putin)
president, Dmitry Firtash? Very friendly it appears; inexplicable, exorbitant paid
for expenses, numerous trips to Ukraine…. ‘No comment’ from Mr W or his new
department. Oh dear me.
With the BBC charter due to expire next year, you surely should take advantage
of the dramas, documentaries, comedies (hmmm – not all BBC comedies. I don't
have to remind you of Mrs Brown’s Boys do I? Well, I just have and wish I hadn’t
as I can’t get Brendan O’Carroll out of my mind. Yuck.)
You will have until January 2017 to enjoy and record your favourites. Admittedly
some will be a bit past their display-by-date – Have I Got News for You, but
what if we lose Sherlock. Oh no. Not Sherlock!
Enjoy losing money? Well, you’re in luck. Mr W has repeatedly favoured
reduced regulation in regards to those lose-£100-every-twenty-seconds or
‘crack cocaine gambling’ touch-screen fixed-odds betting terminals. Still feeling
Wave those wind-farms goodbye. Personally, I find them fascinating. They
could be mesmerising, they could be art, they could be surreal, they could be
renewable energy. So. Best to terminate them as planned.
With British species and their landscapes “facing their biggest threat in a
generation” – this according to 100 leading nature groups representing eight
million people have warned more than 1,000 species and hundreds of habitats
need protection from commercial development and pollution - “Nature is in
So what would you expect from Chancellor, Georgie then? He recently ordered
a review to ensure the Habitat Directive wasn’t putting “ridiculous costs” on his
beloved British business. A pity the review found it wasn’t. Sorry Georgie. Better
luck next time. The darling dormouse has been saved – for the moment.
Regardless of how you see the windfarms – efficient ecological energy or
mesmerising art installations (I choose both) – PM CallMeDave views renewable
energy subsidies as “green crap” – in private naturally. Windfarm demise is in
the Tory manifesto.
Wondering about the new junior health minister? “I am personally and principally
opposed to abortion” Ben Gummer and reappointed Health Secretary, Jeremy
Hunt (yes, he’s still here) favours abortion limit from 24 to 12 weeks. I’m losing
the will to live.
PM CallMeDave plans to veto Freedom of Information requests to be made
public. CallMeDave plans to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 to stop
Labour’s inbuilt advantage in the constituency boundary system – and make it
tougher for them to terminate the Tory reign in 2020.
Adding to the collective Conservative jubilation - touted as the bookie’s odd-on
favourite, Chuka Umunna has withdrawn from the Labour leadership contest.
Surely not because of his good-friendship with incessantly annoying,
exhaustingly pumped-up Scientologist Will Smith. Just joking…but not about
WS. Dan Jarvis gone, now Umunna gone – oh dear oh dear – the Tories are all
‘pumped up’ together now.
Fairness, equality, social justice will all become a distant memory. Welcome to
self-serving greed. Welcome to nationalism. Welcome to the new nasty Britain.
People will ‘get the government they deserve’. Unfortunately, so will we.